Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Perez wants ‘review’ with Red Bull after losing fastest lap point to Verstappen

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez wants Red Bull to review the communication given to him and his team mate after losing the fastest lap bonus point to his team mate at the end of the race.

The two Red Bull drivers ran first and second in the final laps of the race, with Perez leading. Both were given similar target lap times by their team but both also asked which driver had the fastest lap and was therefore set to score the bonus point.

Perez was told he had the fastest lap and did not make an effort to improve his time on the final lap. Verstappen was told what Perez’s time was and beat it on the last lap of the race. The extra point he took from his team mate proved crucial as it put him in the lead of the championship ahead of Perez.

Verstappen said it was “normal” for him to try to take the fastest lap point in those circumstances.

“With a few laps to go, I asked what the fastest lap was,” he said. “I think we were first of all free to race and of course we had a target lap time to the end.

“But there’s a point on the line, it was the same also in Bahrain it got asked. So especially when it’s just between the two cars I think it’s quite normal that you ask for what the fastest lap is.”

Perez said he was under the impression the pair had been told to maintain their pace over the final laps.

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“I asked two laps from the end what they were telling us,” he said. “They told me to keep a certain pace and they told me I had the fastest lap and to keep a certain pace.

“So I thought that communication was the same to Max. It’s something we need to review because I got certainly different information and I just couldn’t push there in the end.”

During the final laps Perez asked his team whether both driver were being told to manage their pace. He said he was concerned about potential reliability problems after Verstappen suffered a driveshaft failure in qualifying.

“Obviously they have more information than us,” he said. “I think the team did a fantastic job on letting us race. I just felt like there was a point where, I don’t know, for the last 10 laps or so that we had very similar pace, within a tenth faster or slower, and I just felt like the gap would have been probably a little bit less or a little more, but it wouldn’t have changed anything.

“I was just thinking about the car and just making sure. I was having some strange vibrations and obviously what happened to Max was on the back of my mind today and I’m sure it was on the back of the mind of the team as well. So it was just a matter of making sure both cars finished two to maximise points.”

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Keith Collantine
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67 comments on “Perez wants ‘review’ with Red Bull after losing fastest lap point to Verstappen”

  1. Sorry but that was naive from Perez not to go for it in the last lap. They got the order to maintain pace from a certain point but they weren’t forbidden to have a go at flap. I can’t even call it shrewd from Verstappen.

    1. Unless they gave him a fastest lap time as a target lap time, the intention was to maintain a ‘safe’ pace.
      Don’t act daft and try find ways to excuse the inexcusable.

      1. @Dale:
        What are you on about? The inexcusable? You seem to react as if he bumped him off the track or clubbed a baby seal*
        They’re in competition. They’re supposed to compete. Verstappen not letting Perez through last season, that was bad. This, you could call it opportunistic, maybe. For me it was a given he was going for it. Perez dropped the ball here. He is just not used to being in a battle for the championship and he’d better pull up his socks quick. He will need to be sharper if he wants to challenge for the title

        *I’m not sure he didn’t do that by the way…

      2. Shame on Max for trying to gain an extra point. /s

      3. Team should have just told Perez: keep pace, you win the race, Max will go for fastest lap and you will let him have it. No trust issues that way; just tell him the way it is.

        1. But there were trust issues anyway. Max was told to do 32.6s and Perez 33.0s.. Which Perez spotted. They both started doing 33.2s for a while too. It was naive of Perez to not go for fastest lap on his last lap. It would have just been insurance against something Max was incredibly likely to attempt.

          1. Except that’s not what the team told Perez. Initially, they told him target pace was 33.0, and after Verstappen put in a 32.6 they communicated this time to Perez, and said that the new pace should be target -0.4, i.e. 32.6.

            Perez failed to do the maths, this wasn’t on Red Bull.

      4. Perez was trying to get the team to have Max hold station after he had the flap and he was denied.

        Perez is not a smart cookie

    2. Exactly. Set the fastest time you think you can manage. The team told Max to ignore the fastest lap time, but considering Horner’s tripple speak, he may have just meant he could go for it.
      Stepping on the pedal as hard as you can is not cheating, it is ensuring you stay ahead.

  2. Get your priorities right.
    Nobody remembers fastest laps.

    1. But extra point counts towards the season total.

    2. @bullfrog I think it’s a psychological advantage in this case: it would be Perez’s first time leading the drivers championship. It was obvious Verstappen would go for the fastest lap on the final lap. #mustbesmarter

      1. 100% agree. It’s the psychological aspect more than anything. The point matters too. Sergio just needs to show more initiative.

        It’s impressive how close Alonso came to their fastest laps actually too. Let’s see what sort of lap times they’re turning at 42 in a slower car.

        1. Yes, alonso is holding up impressively well at his age, he’s already 7 years past his peak if he’s still 42.

        2. Not his peak, the average peak, normally drivers start declining after 35.

  3. Thought he would’ve learned that Max is into business for himself and could care less about you as his teammate after Brazil last year. Guess not.

    1. +1 It’s almost tiresome how slow Perez is in learning that.

    2. Couldn’t, could not. The amount he cares is so little, that he could_not_care_less.

    3. Perez it’s simple your only competition is Max for a drivers championship this year. He needs to get ruthless and not listen to the team all the time. If he wants to win simply be better and smarter.

    4. After Brazil? You don’t become Max Verstappen caring about your teammates. He never cared.

    5. If you were Max, wouldn’t you want to get that point knowing that it may be important later (probably not BTW)? The team has the same amount of points either way. Not sure why people are ripping Max for this when anyone who wants to win would’ve done the same. Enough of this “Sergio is a good guy and Ma should let him win sometimes.” The man went from 15th to les than 5 seconds behind his teammate who started on pole. Without the mechanical issues in qualifying, Max would have won by 20 seconds.

  4. “So I thought that communication was the same to Max”

    Some people never learn….

    1. You would think his race engineer would be looking out for him, he seems just as naive…..

      1. More likely his own race engineer is also treating him as the expendable number two driver of the team.

        Perez has a conundrum here. He’s well aware that his position in the team is not very firm, and he’s there as a number two driver for Max. But he also wants to be treated fairly, which he’s (rightly) doubtful that he will be. If he gets an order to maintain a set pace, he would be risking his career to ignore that and go for the fastest lap, whereas Max can just go for it.

        It’s difficult. Everybody wants to feel they are being treated fairly. However, I think Perez needs to accept that he’ll never be treated fairly as a second driver at RBR, he’ll always be a disposable asset whose only job is to help Max or the team. He should be grateful they didn’t order him to give first to Max, something I was very surprised about.

        1. I completely agree with you there @drmouse. But knowing all that, it is right for him to ask for a review. Even if just to make a few people at Red Bull who behave as if he can trust them feel uncomfortable with themselves (like his race engineer).

  5. As soon as the gap started to grow between them over the last few laps I thought it was obvious Verstappen was getting the car ready for a push for fastest lap on the last lap. So I’m surprised Perez didn’t do the same.

  6. Russell gave a great lesson today in how not to be a number two driver when he didn’t let Hamilton past and then pulled away. If Perez has any serious of intention of competing this season, then he needs to scrap for all this points. Today was the chance to grab as many as possible and he drove well from q3 to almost the end of the race. But he needs to just grab those points when they’re within reach, go for fastest lap on the final lap. He’s competing against one driver this season and Verstappen won’t give any quarter any time to anyone.

    1. @david-br:
      Good point mentioning Russell, he did do that indeed. The attitude you’d need.
      Although I’m not a fan how he did it. Made him sound a tiny bit like a weasel on the radio. He wasn’t fooling anyone with that message and he knows it. I’d prefer it if he just owned his decision and say no on the radio…

      1. Perez just isn’t ruthless enough.

    2. Russell is not the number 2 driver, he is the future of the team and with enough experience to be allowed to race his team mate.

  7. I don’t get why Perez would care about this one point. He won the race. In six months he will be 100 points behind his teammate.

    1. Probably wanted his name at the top of the standings for once.

      1. Yes, that makes more sense than any actual hopes to win the championship, in the end even the 2 closest championship fights of recent times were decided by 5 and 7 points, 1 single FL wouldn’t matter, although it double dips in this case: take 1 point and take 1 off your opponent.

      2. BW (@deliberator)
        20th March 2023, 4:20

        Not that it means too much at this stage in any case. I recall the 2010 season where Massa, of all people, was leading the standings only a couple of races in.

  8. @G:
    I wouldn’t say that. He didn’t have a problem giving Ocon a taste of his own medicine back in FI. (Rightfully so I’d say)
    If he didn’t see this one coming, he’s maybe a bit thick?

  9. I can understand why Checo has trust issues, but on the last lap of the race he would do well to use his lack of trust while evaluating whether to go for the fastest lap.

    Up to a point I have no sympathy, as he signed up for it, but it must be crap to know you can’t fully trust what you’re being told…even if being told in good faith.

    1. No one can speak for Verstappen’s right foot.

    2. Perez is in a very difficulty position: he’s the number two driver in a team known to dump second drivers at the drop off a hat, and where he knows there is another driver of at least equal talent waiting in the wings to take his place. If he’s given an explicit order to maintain a set pace, he’s putting his entire career on the line if he ignores it and tries for fastest lap. In

      What he’s asking the team for is a little fairness, for them not to put him in that position. I doubt it’s going to happen, but I can understand him asking for that.

  10. It seems Checo was wanting the team to prevent Max from pushing for FL so that he would keep it. Bit silly, the team said they were free to race, so why wouldnt they be free to go for FL as well? No freebies, you want FL, you set it.

  11. We all knew that Max will go for last lap except Perez? what he was expecting? anyway he will learn.

    1. BW (@deliberator)
      20th March 2023, 4:22

      But, will he actually learn? Bottas didn’t, Barrichello didn’t, Fisichella didn’t, Coulthard didn’t, to name a few, and their lack of ruthless streaks lead to being de facto number 2 drivers.

  12. Just Google “lucy football” for an illustration of VER / PER.

  13. PER won’t make that mistake again and we’ll see how VER reacts. Also nice of Max’s dad to give PER a warm hug and handshake to congratulate him. Oh wait, just a half snarl, instead.

    1. Max’s did is wife beating scum. Would you want a hug from him?

      1. I guess you could do without a literal bone-crashing hug, that could put you out of the championship battle!

      2. But more seriously, verstappen sr. is really unimpressive.

    2. If Perez fights Max when he’s been ordered not to, the team will just drop him in favour of Danny Ric. Perez knows this.

    3. Perez has been screwing himself since joining Red Bull. No chance he will figure it out as this is at least the 3rd or tth or 10th time it has happened.

      But reality is, he verbally tried to get the team to slow Max and they kept saying no. His brain might be fast enough to drive an F1 car but clearly not to understand what “race” means.

  14. What’s the point of a team review? Does he think they’ll actually reprimand Max or be more straight forward with him in the future? He needs to learn his lesson and take matters into his own hands.

    1. I think it’s more like asking: why didn’t you tell me about the fastest lap? Next time don’t hold back information.

      1. He’s asking for fairness…

        If he gets an explicit order, he risks his whole career to ignore it. Max doesn’t have that constraint: he could literally crash Perez out, on purpose, and admit it to the team, with zero fear of losing his seat. Heck, he could probably sleep with the wives of all the top brass in the team, and his stay would still be safe.

        This imbalance means that the team need to be careful about their orders if Perez is to feel fairly treated, because those orders carry very different weights. If Perez is told to maintain a set pace, he needs to be told explicitly whether he’s allowed to go for a fastest lap. Max doesn’t need that and will go for it anyway. So, what Perez would ask of the team is that they consider this when giving them these orders.

        Not that I think it’s going to happen, of course. RBR don’t really care if their second driver feels fairly treated, they have a replacement waiting and most of the grid would give their right arm for a seat in that car. You’d think he’d have realised by now that it’s team MV, and he’s just an expendable pawn. He should just be grateful that they didn’t order him to hand first over to Max.

        1. @drmouse Did he get an explicit order though? Because after the ‘33.0’ (hold constant pace) message a radio call from the pit wall to Perez was broadcasted that he was clear to push.

          1. I didn’t hear that. If that’s the case, he doesn’t really have anything to complain about.

  15. This is much like the multi-21 scenario. Perez is too slow to learn. He should have pushed for the fastest lap to asset himself as the championship leader. Is really the mindset of a number 2 driver when you listen to your team when your teammate is VER.

  16. Perez asked the team , replay the race and hear the radio communication, he was told to hold a pace, he challenged the instruction ,the team did not gave him any information of a mechanical concern , to late to set the car energy level for fastest lap at the end , any driver at that level is super competitive they have been racing since 4-5 years old.

  17. Nothing to review.

    1. Oh, there’s lots to review. Max lost to Checo. Shouldn’t have happened.

      They’ll be reviewing how Checo kept the gap at 5 seconds after Max climbed to P2. Shouldn’t have happened.


  18. Perez showing why he isnt WDC material. He is an endearing character though.

  19. Difference between Max and Perez. Max: I had the chance and I took it. Perez: it is not fair. My advise to Perez: take the pain, it comes with the job.

  20. What happenned to all those people who complain about their unobeying teammates at the end of the race? I don’t remember because they all just faded away from history…

    “Multi 21 Seb”

    1. because there was no order in this race, unlike Multi-21 or when Nico and Lewis were told to hold station and Lewis turned on the afterburners for the lead.

    2. Imola 1982.

  21. Would say it is more Perez interpreted the messages incorrectly and falsely assumed they were not allowed to try to improve the fastest lap.

    Perez was informed he had the fastest laps a few laps before the end but it was not said nobody could try to take it from him. Both drivers reduced their speed and stopped pushing.

    Max asked for info but didn’t get any info from the team but also no instruction not to try and get the fastest lap.

    So both drivers followed team instruction to reduce pace and neither driver was told not to go for fastest lap nor was either driver told what the fastest lap was or that they should try to get it.

    1. @Jimmy Cliff:
      The discussion in this thread seems to narrow down on how Perez might feel he is battling Verstappen and his own team. But in reality there was an actual race going on. He was basically the only one slowing down in the end there. Even Alonso was only half a tenth away from beating him! Russell, also pushing was just 2,5 tenths shy. This wasn’t just about a RBR team fight although a lot of people seem to make it look like that.

      Perez should have figured it out himself, but maybe he feels his race engineer should remind him to try and better his own flap because it was under threat of Russell, Alonso and Verstappen?? Still.. I feel this one is on Perez. Didn’t he pay attention to what happened in previous seasons* between Mercedes and RBR for instance? There were many attempts at flap when there was the opportunity by both teams.

      *except last season of course

      1. Exactly.

        Perez was (correctly) informed that he had the fastest lap.

        Verstappen was told what the fastest lap was, then nothing further on the matter.

        The team didn’t know Verstappen would go for FLAP on the final lap (albeit naive to assume otherwise).

        Perez was very naive to assume Verstappen wouldn’t go for it. He had the FLAP, but it wasn’t particularly fast.

        1. If the situation was left to Perez, probably Alonso or George would have taken the FLAP. RB should be pleased they have Max. Not a strong performance from the team at all.

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